As the defending WNBA Champion and contenders for this year's title, the Washington Mystics are not as reliant on the WNBA Draft this season as other teams.
On April 17, the Mystics will be 'virtually drafting' the No. 12 overall pick. They also hold the rights to the No. 24 and No. 36 picks in the draft for the second and third rounds.
Typically the twelfth pick isn't a prospect ready to immediately jump into the lineup of a WNBA roster. It is an opportunity for a team to draft a player with upside that may still need some development. Their first season will either be down near the end of the bench or playing overseas.
This year Mike Thibault and his staff are afforded the opportunity to develop a promising player. Washington returns a majority of their championship roster and has sufficient bench depth.
This will leave several options on the table with the last pick in the first round. That is evident with what several WNBA mock drafts have projected for the Mystics.
Crystal Dangerfield, G, UConn (ESPN)
2019-20 College Stats: 14.9 ppg (.463/.410/.860), 3.9 apg
Other projections: No. 6 to Minnesota (Swish Appeal), No. 11 to Seattle (High Post Hoops), No. 6 to Minnesota (SB Nation)
ESPN's analysis: "Point guard might not be a specific need for the defending champion Mystics, and Dangerfield's size at 5-5 will be seen as a potential liability. Still, she has the UConn pedigree; Huskies players have made a huge impact in the WNBA. "
Kitija Laksa, G, International (High Post Hoops)
2019-20 College Stats: N/A
Other projections: No. 20 to Los Angeles (Swish Appeal), Not listed (ESPN - First Round only), Not listed (SB Nation - First Round only)
High Post Hoops' analysis: "Laksa played well for South Florida, and spent the past year out of sight, out of mind for many after forgoing her last year of collegiate eligibility. But let’s not forget: she wasn’t just a great three-point shooter in college, percentage-wise, she got up a ton of those shots — more than 300 attempts in 2017-18... She’s got a sturdy 6′ frame, and should be able to handle herself against pro bodies right away. "
Mikiah Herbert Harrigan, F, South Carolina (SB Nation)
2019-20 College Stats: 13.1 ppg (.506/.435/.835), 5.6 rpg
Other projections: No. 15 to Dallas (Swish Appeal), Not listed (ESPN - First Round only), No. 10 to Phoenix (High Post Hoops)
SB Nation's analysis: "Herbert Harrigan wouldn’t get many minutes on a championship-ready Mystics team, but they’d work to develop her for the future. D.C. knows how to make shooters produce."
Joyner Holmes, F, Texas (Swish Appeal)
2019-20 College Stats: 13.1 ppg (.425/.198/.602), 8.7 rpg
Other projections: Not listed (ESPN - First Round only), No. 19 to Seattle (High Post Hoops), Not listed (SB Nation - First Round only)
Swish Appeal's analysis: "While she may not have panned out how Texas fans expected following her strong freshman season, there’s little doubt that she has WNBA-caliber physical tools. Holmes can rebound, defend, pass and dribble, making her a good fit for a team that already has plenty of shooting. She’d also benefit from playing for a coach with as much player development experience as Mike Thibault."
All three of these mocks have the Mystics going in opposite directions. One has the team drafting a point guard, reasonable considering their free-agent acquisition, Leilani Mitchell is 34. Two other mocks have Washington going for sizable wings that fit their system. The last has them taking a traditional center.
Thibault, the head coach and general manager, is not known for tipping his cards leading up to the draft either.
The bottom line is Washington not only could go in several different paths but will have options for how this draft can help them in the future.
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